“If you are sexually active, getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health.” – Center for Disease Control (CDC)
At Life’s Choices, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, we provide free STD testing, education and treatment for gonorrhea and chlamydia. Although they are not the only two STDs that exist, they are two of the most commonly diagnosed in the United States. The CDC reported in 2017 there were 1.7 millions cases of chlamydia in the United States, which was a 22 percent increase from 2013. That same year, they also reported 555,608 cases of gonorrhea, which was a 67 percent increase from 2013.
ARE YOU AT RISK?
Here are some helpful reasons to assess if you are at risk of an STD:
There are a lot of STDs that do not show symptoms. Chlamydia is known as the “silent disease” because of its lack of symptoms, and gonorrhea often lacks symptoms as well. However, if you are having symptoms, please do not take it lightly! Some symptoms may include bumps, irregular discharge, bleeding, odor, burning, pain, itchiness and a sore throat.
New or multiple partners-
Some important questions to ask yourself are: Have I had a new partner or multiple new partners? Do I know their sexual history? Do they have other partners besides me? If you can answer yes to any of those questions, you should be getting tested. Having multiple partners or being with a partner that has multiple partners highly increases your risk of getting an STD.
You have never been tested before-
There are many people that come into our office who have had multiple partners but have never been tested before. Remember, just because you aren’t having symptoms, it doesn’t mean that nothing is going on with your body. The Center for Disease Control recommends if you are sexually active, at the bare minimum you should be getting tested at least once a year OR after every new partner.
A partner or previous partner told you to get tested-
If you have a partner or a previous partner who is telling you to get tested, please listen to them! This is something that should be taken care of immediately, and you should inform all of your current and previous partners as well.
There were no condoms used during sexual intercourse-
No, condoms do not 100 percent protect you from STDs. You can even get some STDs from skin to skin contact, such as the “human papillomavirus” commonly known HPV. But condoms do help reduce risk. It is important to know that you can get STDs through all modes of sex (vaginal, oral and anal). You can also transfer the disease from genitals to throat and throat to genitals. At Life’s Choices, we are also able to provide a free throat swab in addition to your vaginal or urine testing.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Knowing your STD status is very important and critical in preventing the spread of disease. If you think you may be infected or at risk, DO NOT have sexual intercourse until you are tested and treated. The CDC states, “the most reliable way to avoid infection is to not have sex (vaginal, oral and anal).
For more information on STDs, you can visit the Center for Disease Control’s website. To schedule your testing appointment, call or text our Kutztown office at 610-683-8000 or our Hamburg office at 484-660-3526. We offer testing during our office hours:
Kutztown: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Hamburg: Monday, Wednesday and Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
We also offer testing in Reading on Tuesdays from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Grace Bible Fellowship Church (1128 Hampden Blvd., Reading, PA 19604).